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May 13, 2012

The Systematic Organization of Hatreds

Assistant:  We won! Now we can accomplish some good things.
Senator:  And, punish our enemies.

Economics usually studies the gains from cooperation. People and businesses usually cannot force others to serve them. They must offer beneficial, voluntary arrangements.

Politics distributes power. It is not surprising that politicians use that power not just for the good, but to punish their competitors, their "enemies", and anyone else they may dislike. Who is going to stop them?

The Systematic Organization of Hatreds
05/05/12 - The Beacon by Robert Higgs [edited]

Democrats and Republicans are but two wings of the predatory government that rules the United States. Why does their feuding reach such vitriolic extremes? Despite their similarity of fundamental positions, they are somewhat different sorts of people and tend to dislike and sometimes despise one other. Although inclined to conspire and cut deals, they also represent their supporter's hatreds.

When we move some decision from private life into politics and government, we will likely move it from a world where hatred is incidental and avoidable to a world in which hatred is central and inescapable.

A government imposes one rule and one outcome on everyone. The hatreds within that outcome become infused throughout the society. We live in a politicized world fashioned in large part by those organized expressions of hatred.

Small wonder that some of us view the entire apparatus of politics and government as the living embodiment of evil.

- -
EPA Official explains his "crucify" enforcement policy

[edited]  In a 2010 video, EPA Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz explained his philosophy of enforcement to his staff, which he acknowledged being crude and perhaps inappropriate, but shared anyway:
It is kind of like how the Romans conquered villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a Turkish town, find the first five guys, and crucify ‘em. That little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

You make examples out of people who are not complying with the law. You hit ‘em as hard as you can. There’s a deterrent effect. And companies that are smart see that. They decide that it’s time to clean up. And that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples.

This might be excused if the EPA were enforcing a few laws with clearly beneficial results. But, this is the EPA enforcing thousands of vague laws, most with huge costs and imperceptible results.

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